Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (79)

Brendan Smith

Question:

77 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made to date in drafting interdepartmental guidelines to establish a framework for addressing mental health in the education system, when the guidelines will be published and if he will ensure that these are applied to primary level as well as post-primary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34076/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

My Department is aiming to launch the Guidelines on Mental Health for Post-Primary Schools later this year. These guidelines aim to support schools in developing a whole-school approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention and are of relevance to all members of the school community. In particular, they have been developed to support principals, guidance counsellors, student support teams, and teachers. In addition, boards of management and in-school management teams play a central leadership role in mental health promotion. It is not planned to develop Mental Health Guidelines for Primary Schools, as the Social, Personal and Health Education curriculum provides particular opportunities to foster the personal development, health and well-being of children to help them create and maintain supportive relationships. The SPHE curriculum provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to promoting the health and well-being of children and to the development of responsible behaviour and a range of generic skills, attitudes and values. The implementation of SPHE is also influenced significantly by the ethos and characteristic spirit of the school.